Summary: God chooses to let things happen or supernaturally intervenes based upon His own purposes.
Our Unpredictable God
1. We love predictable sayings. In Texas, for example, they say, "Everything is big in Texas." But not always.
2. This week, we read of a special birth in Indonesia. Take note that Indonesia is not in Texas:
KISARAN, Indonesia – Indonesia’s heaviest-ever newborn drew curious crowds Friday to a hospital where the boy named Akbar — or the "Great" in Arabic — came into the world at a record 19.2 pounds (8.7 kilograms).
Akbar Risuddin was born to a diabetic mother in a 40-minute cesarean delivery that was complicated because of his unusual weight and size, Dr. Binsar Sitanggang said.
"I’m very happy that my baby and his mother are in good health," father Muhammad Hasanuddin said Friday. "I hope I can afford to feed the baby enough, because he needs more milk than other babies."
3. A lot of our sayings are not always true, because life is not always predictable. And part of the reason that life is unpredictable is that our God is unpredictable.
4. Psalm 115:3 "Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him."
5. Although God’s character is constant and consistent, His workings cannot be standardized or controlled or be seen to be consistent from our viewpoint.
6. We cannot coerce Him. We cannot use God to make ourselves self-sufficient; instead, we must constantly come to God in our weakness, dependent upon His strength and provision.
7. "God is not constrained by any inner deficiency or unhappiness to do anything he does not want to do." John Piper
8. If we knew how to "use" God to get our way, we really would not be dependent upon His grace, but rather our ability to manipulate Him.
Main Idea: God chooses to let things happen or supernaturally intervenes based upon His own purposes.
I. Acts 12: An Example of God Doing As He PLEASES (1-23)
A. In the execution of JAMES (1-2)
1. Why did Herod Agrippa I execute James?
2. Was God not in control? Earlier, all 12 disciples were imprisoned and all 12 were released. Why not this time?
3. Concurrence: "God cooperates with created things in every action, directing their distinctive properties to cause them to act as they do…God directs and works through the distinctive properties of each created thing, so that these things themselves bring about the results we see…" (Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, pp. 317, 319)
B. In the deliverance of PETER (3-19)
1. Night shift: 4 crews of 4 soldiers each
2. This is considered comical by many. Take Peter’s sleep
• Had to be hit by the angel to wake him up
• Even when he was awake, he was still in a daze, thought it was a dream
• Angel had to tell him to put his clothes on; he was really groggy
• The angel had no trouble putting the guards into a deep sleep, having Peter’s chains fall off, but he had a tough time getting Peter to wake up!
• At Moody, someone dared to ring our room at 6:30 AM
3. When he arrives at John Mark’s Mother’s House, the servant girl takes a look, seems him, and runs back in, leaving him outside…(comedy)
4. It’s also comical: the church is praying for Peter to be delivered, and, when he is, they don’t believe it! They think he’s a ghost and already dead.
5. He has to keep on knocking so they would let him in!
6. Then he tells the believers there to get word to James, the Lord’s brother, who was quickly becoming the main leader in the Jerusalem church
7. This was the James’ whose ossuary was supposedly found, the son of Joseph, brother of Yeshua; they said it was real, then they said it was a fake, and now they are saying it is real again.
8. Then Peter leaves.
9. Although a lot of comedy here, but not for the guards.
C. In the judgment upon HEROD Agrippa I
1. The power of Herod Agrippa: schooled in Rome, knew the upper crust; friends with Caligula and then Claudius; eventually ruled over same area as Herod the Great
2. Josephus records the same event, about August 1, 44 AD., or 5 months after the Peter incident.
3. Like his grandfather, Herod Agrippa I claimed to be a Jew; like his grandfather, he was anything but godly.
4. And if Judaism is anything, it is the belief that there is one God, and that He alone is worthy of worship.
5. By accepting worship as "a god," he was aiding and abetting this blasphemy!
6. Jospeheus tells us Herod was stuck with severe stomach pains and died 5 days later (parasites).
God chooses to let things happen or supernaturally intervenes based upon His own purposes.